Civilians, Control, and Collaboration During Civil Conflict
38 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 14, 2019
What affects civilian collaboration with armed actors during civil war? While theory and evidence confirm that harm by armed actors influences when and with whom civilians collaborate, we argue that collaboration is also a function of civilians’ perceptions of armed actors’ efforts to minimize collateral casualties. We test this argument using a series of nationwide surveys of Afghan civilians conducted quarterly between 2013-2015. Our data record civilian willingness to report roadside bombs to government authorities and perceptions of government and Taliban efforts to minimize civilian harm. Civilians are less (more) willing to collaborate with the government when they perceive the government (Taliban) carelessly using force, even after accounting for political sentiment, local security conditions, and a range of additional confounding factors. Moreover, our evidence suggests that perceived carelessness in the rival’s area of control influences collaboration. We discuss how these empirical results inform broader literatures on collaboration, conquest, occupation, and control.
Keywords: civil war, territorial control, civilian collaboration, survey methods
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